Monday, May 21, 2012

Rhubarb Ketchup

Spring is here!  That means ramps (which have already come and gone), rhubarb, sugar snap peas, asparagus, strawberries, and other wonderful ingredients.  I just get so excited once fresh spring produce shows up.  And the rhubarb at the farmers' market this week looked GORGEOUS - vibrant red stalks with green leafy tops.  So I bought a couple pounds.  And after the heavenly slice of strawberry-rhubarb pie I had this weekend at a place called The Blue Stove I knew I couldn't compete with their pie, so I decided to go with something savory - a rhubarb ketchup to serve with some skirt steak from Jean-Georges Vongerichten that I found on the Food & Wine websiteOne of the things that drew me to this recipe was that it was an interesting use of an ingredient that up until now I have only used in baking/desserts.  I was looking forward to seeing rhubarb in a more savory context.  And overall I think it was very successful. I thought the tartness and the slight heat of the ketchup really complimented the meatiness of the grilled skirt steak (seasoned simply with s&p). I could also see the ketchup working nicely with some juicy grilled bratwursts - again that contrast of rich, smoky meats with the tart acidity of the ketchup. The recipe says to serve with steaks, pork or veal chops, chicken, onion rings or bratwursts, so I guess you can't go wrong if you serve it with any of those things!I only made a half batch of the recipe, so I still have one pound of rhubarb left for another application.  I'm thinking dessert, but I am going to stay away from pie because I am just going to end up disappointed when my pie isn't as good as The Blue Stove's...  Maybe a cake of some sort?  I have been wanting to make a cornmeal cake or a pound cake for awhile.  And there is this recipe for Rhubarb Country Cake that I saw on Epicurious awhile ago that sounded interesting.  Now I just have to decide what to make!

Recipe after the jump! 

Rhubarb Ketchup
Available at Food & Wine

2 pounds rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/3 cup ruby port
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, peeled in wide strips
Cayenne pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb with the port, vinegar, sugar and orange zest and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring often, until the rhubarb is just tender, about 5 minutes. Discard the orange zest. Transfer to a blender and puree (our rhubard had already essentially dissolved and the ketchup was already pretty smooth so we skipped this step). Season with salt and cayenne.

Serve With steaks, pork or veal chops, chicken, onion rings or bratwursts.

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